The word romance conjures up different images for each of us, and our expectations of what constitutes a romantic relationship also vary. Women are inclined to describe romance as the things their mate does to make them feel loved, protected, and respected. Wives, especially those married to busy husbands, crave the excitement of romantic encounters. They long for "some enchanted evening, across a crowded room." Flowers, compliments, nonsexual touching, and love notes are all steps in this direction. So is helping out at home. A man who shares in the duties of cooking, cleaning, and picking up the kids after basketball practice is much more likely to win the affection of his wife.
Men, on the other hand, rely more on their senses in the area of romance. They appreciate a wife who makes herself as attractive to him as possible. A man wants to be respected—and even better, admired—by his wife. He likes to hear his wife express genuine interest in his opinions, hobbies, and work.
Perhaps the most evocative descriptions of romantic love come from Solomon's Song of Songs, where we see that it includes both intimacy and emotional excitement: "My lover is mine and I am his" (2:16) and "My heart began to pound for him" (5:4). We see how deep affection inspires desire and complete appreciation for another: "How beautiful you are, my darling!" (4:1). We learn that to be romantic means to pursue the object of our affection—and to pine when he or she eludes us: "All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him" (3:1). And we see how powerfully a public display of affection communicates romantic love: "He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love" (2:4).
Though romance can mean vastly different things to each of us, for most the word describes that wonderful feeling of being noticed, wanted, and pursued—of being at the very center of our lover's attention. Typically, most couples maintain this sense of romance throughout their courtship and at least through the newlywed phase of marriage. As the years go by and new duties and responsibilities pile on, however, that romantic feeling all too often begins to fade.5 Essentials for Lifelong Intimacy
By Dr. James Dobson